Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ethics and Values

I'm going to try a new thing here where I lay out a situation in which I faced an ethical dilemma and anyone can comment on whether or not my actions were ok.

Tonight I went to Little Caesars. Classy, I know. Was this an ethical move?

...Just kidding that's not the ethical dilemma. Hot, ready, $5...why WOULDN'T you go there? (This is not a paid advertisement for Little Caesars, I'm just trying to look less white trash-y.) So I went to Little Caesars which is located in a small strip mall, so there's not much parking. The three spots right in front of the store were taken up, so I went to park on the far side of left-most car, only to find that this driver had chosen to park their car well outside of the lines. It was egregious; they were taking up like a third of the spot I was trying to park in. The parking lot was well lit, so I had a hard time believing that this person couldn't see the lines. It had to be a willful disregard of parking lot etiquette.

So I thought, "Hey, I drive a compact car. I bet I could still fit my car in that spot, while also teaching the driver of this stupid blue minivan a lesson not to hog two spots for no damn reason, since my car will be too close to it for them to be able to enter their vehicle on the drivers side." Never mind the fact that the spot one more over was very much vacant, and I could have easily parked there without causing any controversy. If I had parked there, I would have been ONE SPOT FARTHER AWAY from Little Caesars. I would have had to take, like, THREE extra steps (SIX!!! if you count round trip) to get my pizza. Unacceptable. Plus I wouldn't have been teaching anyone a lesson.

I was right, sort of. I fit my car in the spot with my wheels ON the white line on my left side, and my rear view mirror pretty much touching the other car's on my right side, so technically I stayed within the spot, right?

I go into Little Caesars and there are only two other customers inside. One is a young woman, probably around 20, and the other is a grandma. I didn't look that close, but, like, pushing 70 and couldn't get around very quickly. And I'm thinking to myself, "What are the chances that that minivan belongs to that 20 year old? About 2%. What are the chances it belongs to the grandma? 2000%." "Shit," I think. Now I'm not being an avenger of parking justice, I'm being an ass to the elderly.

The grandma finished up at the register and it was my turn- I got my pizza and paid as quickly as possible so that I could get back out there and move my car before grandma had to stand outside in the freezing temperatures any longer because I stubbornly blocked her in.

As I walked out the door, there she was, putting her pizza in the unblocked passenger side of the car, and starting to walk around to the driver's side. I powerwalked over to my car, very determinedly looking at nothing but the pavement directly in front of my feet, got in, started it, and backed out faster than I ever would have if I was, say, late for work. All the while, grandma is just standing on the pavement at the front edge of her car, probably giving me a dirty, judgmental look and shivering in the cold. I don't know for sure because I was too ashamed to actually look at her. I didn't need to see her scorn to be punished.

So there you go, comrades. Obviously I shouldn't discriminate against the elderly, but not knowing who drove that minivan, was I justified in somewhat jerk-ily blocking them in to send the message that they need to pick just one spot to park in? I feel like this incident, and the need to do things like this, speaks volumes about my psyche.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


I work in a restored brick building, originally built in 1912. It was converted from a dilapidated Pack'n'Ship (sp?) business to a restaurant several years ago. It is haunted. I'm told his name is Herkimer. Don't believe in ghosts? This post probably won't change your mind, but I heard tidbits and anecdotes from everyone who works there (everyone who speaks English, that is) about disappearing sugar caddies and salt shakers, air conditioners turning off on their own, the sound of footsteps on the stairs or glimpses of another person upstairs or in the basement storage when alone. My favorite anecdote is when Herkimer moved a vase of flowers from the bar counter to the adjacent bar sink. The vase was completely unharmed, without a scratch or a flower askew, but simply standing upright in the bar sink when it had been on the counter a moment ago.

I finally had my own firsthand experience with him tonight. I think he's shy around newcomers, and so it took him a couple months to want to properly welcome me. Another server, Jean, and I were closing the restaurant after all the customers were gone. We were sitting at the bar, organizing our receipts and money, when we heard an indistinct crashing noise come vaguely from the direction of the staircase to the second floor behind me. Jean and I were the only ones left there, the cooks having already left for the night. I brushed the noise off as probably a cat in the alleyway, or something clanging on the train tracks right outside, but Jean was a little more spooked by it.

Jean went downstairs to fetch the vacuum and I started moving chairs around so we could begin the annoying nightly ritual of thoroughly vacuuming the shabby, navy blue carpet in the dining room. Just as she re-emerged from the basement, we heard a high-pitched beep come from the bar/kitchen area on the other side of the dining room. We paused for a moment. There it was again. "Where is that annoying beeping coming from?" I demanded as the sound continued to repeat every few seconds.

We walked over towards the bar, only for the beeping to cease. Eager to get back to work so we could both go home, we moved back toward the other side of the dining room and resumed our work. About ten seconds later, the phone screeched, abruptly shattering the relative silence of our work. Ok, now it was officially creepy. It was after 10:00, we'd been closed for over an hour, and the phone never rings this late in our sleepy, small town little restaurant.

I was closer to the phone, so I hurried to answer it, firmly trying to deny the eerie feeling pervading my senses. It was Adam from the security company. A smoke alarm in the hood over the stove had been set off, and they wanted to make sure everything was ok. "Wait," Adam said. "The alarm just reset itself, so everything should be fine now, but let us know if you need anything."

We hung up, and Jean and I went into the brightly lit kitchen to investigate. We could still feel some heat emanating from the industrial burners, but that was no surprise in view of how recently they had been on. All the knobs on the stove were off and we couldn't see any fire, smoke, black marks on the wall, or any reason at all that the alarm would have been set off.


Many would just write this off as a malfunctioning alarm, but we knew better. Maybe Herkimer was finally ready to welcome me, or just wanted to get some attention or cause some mischief. In any case, I see no viable explanation for the night's creepy and unusual series of events except our resident spirit.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

24 and treading water

I'm at that point in my life. The one where people expect me to act like an "adult" and get a real job or do something with my life. I like that idea, and I want to do it, I just don't like the pressure. I want to do it on my own time, because I'm still deciding what exactly it is I want to do with my life. I never liked the idea that I'm supposed to decide what my life's work will be while I'm still becoming an adult, growing, and figuring out who I am and what my priorities are. I guess those things never stop evolving and growing though, so maybe I should stop being so wishy-washy and just pick something.

I could see myself doing any of the following:

-going to grad school to become a physician's assistant
-teaching English anywhere outside of the U.S.
-being a nanny overseas (probably somewhere Francophone)
-going to culinary school (in France???)
-working for an environmental or animal rights lobby/non-profit company
-being a movie or fashion reviewer (are there fashion reviewers? there has to be, right?)
-working just about any job for an airline so that I can travel for free on my time off
-being a professional harpist, maybe even going to a music school to refine my talent
(another excuse to go to Europe)

How do I pick one right now?? I HAVE NO IDEA. I do know that I see the trend of traveling or living overseas a lot in my ideas, so I should make that a priority while I'm still young and not stuck with a mortgage or kids. I also keep coming back to the idea of culinary school. I try not to think about it, because I know that field is really competitive and it seems kind of pipe dream-ish to me, but it's also what I'm passionate about and find a lot of joy and satisfaction in doing.

The physician's assistant thing is my practical, secure, "adult" option. It really only appeals to me because I know I'd always have a job and make a decent wage doing it. I'm not passionate about health care, but I'm keeping it on the table for now in case the economy doesn't get any better.

I could go on about how I feel about each option and their pros and cons, but I've blabbered long enough here. My uncle James once told me he thought it would be ideal if everyone could switch careers every ten years. When he said it, I thought it was a stupid idea, and that you were supposed to devote yourself to the same career your whole adult life, but now I think that idea is spot on. I feel pulled in so many directions that it's going to be easier for me to pick just one right now if I know it doesn't have to be forever.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ah, to be a child. My favorite thing to happen to me in a long time happened tonight while we were at a chinese buffet for dinner (auspicious beginning, I know). I was checking out the dessert bar, when all of a sudden a little boy runs up right next to me, stops, and yells "JELLO!" at the top of his lungs. He proceeds to run around the counter in joy and then stops, screams a very high pitch scream, and runs off to get his mother to help him get some.

As funny as it was, especially since it happened literally right next to me, I miss childhood and feeling scream-level excitement over something as simple as jello.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I'm loving...

1. Chex Mix.

It is so good. Why haven't I bought it more often in my snack buying years? Great, and now I'm getting hungry thinking about it. The only problem is that there aren't enough bagel chips in it. As a facebook friend suggested they should make a Chex Mix "Oops, All Bagel Chips" edition. If they did, I would buy that and a bag of regular Chex Mix and pour them both into a huge bowl. Stir. Eat. Be happy.

Does anyone else think about snack food as much as I do?

2. Gel manicures.

I got my first salon manicure EVER (shocking, I know) last week for my sister's wedding. She insisted I get a gel manicure because they last longer, and because if I got a regular one and my nail polish chipped, the wedding would be ruined.

I'm converted. It was definitely more expensive- $30 for a basic gel manicure, but I got a french so it was $36- but you get what you pay for, as usual. I didn't take a picture the day it was done, but rest assured they looked very pretty and shiny. Even though the Vietnamese gentleman who did them messed up and had to re-do one nail three times and there were still several small snags/smears but after three re-dos I began to doubt his ability to execute a clean gel manicure and just let it go. It looked fine from a foot and a half away.

You can see the snag on the top right if you look closely. Small, I know, but when I'm paying $40+ after the tip just for a manicure, I feel like perfection is not too much to ask.

The gel is starting to chip almost a week later, but it's held up way better than any regular nail polish would under the assault my hands and nails go through working in a restaurant. I've heard/seen from others who get gel manicures and don't work in restaurants that theirs don't start to chip 'til closer to two weeks.

the major chip that showed up at work a few days ago

my left hand still looks pretty good a week later

Next time, I'll probably just do a gel pedicure and skip the manicure until I work somewhere else or have a bit of time off. But believe me, I will be getting one again. I don't think I'd get them regularly, just because I'm not a bi-monthly mani/pedi kind of girl, but I think they're great for special occasions or when you just feel like you need a little extra pampering.

3. The Book of Mormon on Broadway

I've been SO excited about this since it was announced a couple years ago that the creators of South Park are working on a Mormon broadway musical. I've been eagerly devouring every article and video interview of the creators and of several others involved in the show that have come out in the last several months. That's about all I could do to satiate my excitement since a trip to NY to see the thing for myself isn't in the cards at the moment. Then amazon put the soundtrack on sale for only TWO DOLLARS last week, which I immediately purchased and am well on my way to memorizing, thanks to my ipod and a 30+ minute commute to work.

It is brilliant, and I don't say that lightly. They spent years writing this musical, and it shows. It just won freaking nine Tonys, including best musical!! Since hearing the brilliance and hilarity of the full soundtrack for myself, I've become obsessed with trying to figure out the plausibility of a trip to New York to see it. Here's the number they performed at the Tonys:

4. Maui

It lives up to all the hype, and then some. I would probably have never gone on my own, but I went last week thanks to the aforementioned sister's wedding, and I was blown away. It is SO beautiful and so fun. Hawaii always sounded so touristy and cliche to me, but once I was there, all I kept thinking was "I get it now." The weather is always perfect, there's a rainbow or two every day, the landscape and ocean are beautiful, and the amazing nature escapades are plentiful.

My favorite experience was when we went snorkeling at a bay just 20 minutes from our hotel and we saw a ton of gorgeous, vibrant fish swimming on the coral reef, and then even some giant sea turtles!! We saw three or four, and you can get super close to them! (touching is a no-no, but that didn't stop certain family members who shall remain nameless) I felt like I was in an episode of Planet Earth! My only regret is that we only stayed for five days. When I let myself dwell on it, I really do feel extremely stupid that we didn't plan to stay longer. They're not exaggerating when they call it paradise.

on our way back from snorkeling standing in front of a beautiful lush rainforest you walk through to get to the bay

Ben cliff jumping- against the advice of a friendly German doctor I was talking to down on the rocks where I sat to take this picture

On top of the world

colorful craters on the side of the Hale'akala volcano

cool silver cactus plants on top of Hale'akala

My mom on the top of Hale'akala overlooking the ocean. You can even see Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea on the big island in the distance!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Mission Accomplicated

Don't get me wrong, I'm really glad bin Laden was taken out, but amidst all the "Go USA!" and "Hooray for the troops" cheers I'm hearing right now, I can't help thinking about what caused 9/11 in the first place: the severe ideological differences between the USA and some Middle Eastern cultures. I am so grateful to the men and women who serve overseas (and my boyfriend will soon be one of them), and I love this country, but what I want to know is how those radicals became so enraged and hopeless that they felt their only option was to kill thousands of Americans as quickly as possible in an act of disgusting terrorism.

While I believe there is probably a fair amount of brainwashing involved, I think understanding and education are going to go a hell of a lot farther than bombs in combating extremism. America's foreign policy needs to be re-thought if we want to stop leaders like bin Laden from ever being created; specifically the way we pump money into the Middle East. Instead of fueling Afghanistan's war against the USSR or giving Israel $13 million a day in foreign aid, we might want to fuel more constructive efforts like Greg Mortenson's, as detailed in Three Cups of Tea.

This is a complicated issue, and I don't pretend to have all or any of the answers, but as far as I can tell, understanding and acceptance are the keys to peace, not invasions and manhunts. It's been said before, and it will be said again, but although we have finally succeeded in killing bin Laden, our invasions and efforts since 9/11 have inspired a hundred more bin Ladens. I can't overemphasize the scope of the discordance between the US and the Middle East. I'm afraid (and I hope I'm wrong) that the death of one man will have accomplished little in the name of peace.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

anatomy of an alcoholic

My roommate/landlord is an alcoholic. He is a 38-year-old male. He has no steady employment, but according to him, makes more than ever "consulting." No word yet on what or who he consults. I never see him leave the house anymore, so I'm confused as to when he's doing this consulting. Anyway, that's not the point. It's started to adversely affect my living situation. It's nothing serious, he's not violent so far, but it makes me nervous and uncomfortable and unwilling to stay in any part of the house that he is occupying for more than 34 seconds.

Please enjoy the following 100% scientific and accurate charts I've prepared to document his typical day so you can better understand what I'm dealing with here.

figure 1: how his time is spent while awake

figure 2: most common activities while drunk

**This pie slice would be drastically larger if I stayed in the same room as him for longer than 34 seconds.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

why I take a roll of toilet paper with me to the movie theater

I'm a movie-cryer. It's sort of a problem. I cry at movies that I'm pretty sure no one involved in the making of the movie intended for it to be a crying movie. I cried at Star Trek for pete's sake. I almost said "for crying out loud" instead of "for pete's sake" but that seemed too ironic and cutesy. Who the hell is pete though? I'm not happy with either of these expressions. Anyways, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, my unnecessary histrionics. I even cried at Iron Man 2.

Not really on that last one. I really hope you didn't believe that of me, I'd probably be mentally impaired if that was true. But I'm not kidding about the volume and range of movies I cry at. I cry at movies that I don't even care about, that I know are stupid. Hold on, my alcoholic roommates are raising my anger level to homicidal- I need to relocate.

There, that's better. For no reason other than boredom and a personal resolution to blog more often than once every other month, I've organized any crying movies I could think of into lists (not comprehensive) of light to moderate to severe based on how long/hysterically I cried while watching. Consider my self-respect left at the door.

light: Just tearing up or only a few silent tears running down my right cheek. The only kind of movie crying that I have any hope of concealing from the person sitting next to me in the theater who will think I'm deranged if I don't.
"Lord of the Rings"
"Star Wars"
"Finding Nemo"
"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"
"Tuck Everlasting"

moderate: crying at a controlled volume for less than ten minutes
"A Walk to Remember"
"Charlotte's Web"
"Pay It Forward"
"Pan's Labyrinth"

severe: Crying for ten minutes or more, sometimes up to an half hour after the movie has ended at a level of hystericity (not a word) appropriate for someone who has just witnessed their entire family being murdered by Voldemort. This is not a pretty cry, people.
"Big Fish"
"The Time Traveler's Wife"
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"Moulin Rouge"
"The Lion King"

in its own category: this movie exceeded all other previous and subsequent crying levels because I cried FOUR SEPARATE times and continued to sit in the theater for five minutes during the credits and sob while hugging my parents

Are you ready?



That's right, a goddamn Pixar movie. Why those sadistic Disney bastards love killing off immediate family members in almost every feature film is a topic for another blog post, but I will never watch that movie again.

Honorary literary mention: The sixth Harry Potter book (not the movie) when SPOILER ALERT Dumbledore dies. I cried for about two hours and even had to call my mom who was out of town at 1 a.m. to help me calm down. The best part of this story is that I initially refused to tell her why I was calling her crying at 1 a.m. because she hadn't read the Harry Potter books yet and I didn't want to ruin it for her.

As an afterthought I added a fourth list: popular movies I refuse to watch because I know I will end up hysterical
"The Green Mile"
"Schindler's List"
"The Pursuit of Happyness"
"Million Dollar Baby"
"Sophie's Choice"
"Saving Private Ryan"

I have two questions about these lists.

1. Should I be worried about what this says about me psychologically and emotionally?

2. Why are so many of these children's movies?!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

read this if you remotely care for electro pop

You know that feeling when something is so amazing and brings you so much joy that you just want to climb to the top of the nearest mountain and shout to the world that you've found love?That's how I feel about these songs. Unlike the latest Britney Spears product placement-laden video, I just cannot get tired of these songs; they're a revelation.

I saved the best for first: "Byrds of Prey" by Bertie Blackman. Fabulously fantastic. I haven't been so obsessed with a song since I first heard La Roux. Must be listened to with good headphones at least once.

"Audacity of Huge" by Simian Mobile Disco featuring Chris Keating. It wasn't love at first listen. In fact, at first I thought it was Eurotrash techno. But after a couple times, I started really hearing the words and was struck with the sheer coolness of this song.

Passion Pit- "Little Secrets." I'm speechless. MTV2 describes it as "Indie Disco," and I don't think I could do any better than that. I might venture to compare them to an amped-up MGMT.

"Allein Allein"- Polarkreis 18. Yes, it's a German band, and the title translates to "Alone Alone." The message is rather depressing if you stop to think about it, but I don't because I can't get over how hauntingly lovely this song is.

Hot Chip- "Take It In." I strongly recommend listening to this one on the ol' headphones too. A much more pensive, piercing Hot Chip than you may have already heard in "Ready for the Floor" or "Over and Over."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

World peace might be closer than we think

Have you heard of the show Little Mosque on the Prairie? It's a Canadian sitcom with Muslims comprising several of the main characters.

I thought it might be interesting so I started watching it tonight. It's not. I'm pleased to report it's just as mediocre and ho-hum as Two and a Half Men and The King of Queens (insert Charlie Sheen joke here?). Just like when I try to watch those shows, I felt the urge to stick needles in my eyes, because at least that would be more lively.

Why does this make me so happy? Truly, having their own worthless sitcom has to be a sign of Western culture's acceptance of Muslims. The fact that the show is so unremarkable gives me great hope for our society. If Western attitude toward Muslims and Middle Easterners was really that poor, this show either would not get made at all, or it would have to be much, much better in terms of writing, acting, and originality in order to make a bold social commentary to initiate a change in popular attitude.* Especially since these lowest common denominator shows, to quote Ricky Gervais, pander to the exact demographic that I would most expect to be racist against Arabs, Muslims, or anyone with brown skin not part of the black category. Can peaceful relations between the West and the Middle East really be that far away? (Yes, yes they can. Thank you, George W. Bush)

By now I've said at least eight offensive things against people from all walks of life. I thought about editing myself for a second, but then I remembered that this is my opinion blog, and neither of us come here because I am a paragon of diplomacy.

*At this point I am realizing I underestimated how difficult it would be to write coherent sentences at 4 a.m., even though I've been working nights this week and haven't been able to fall asleep much before 5 a.m. for the past three nights anyway. I just needed to get that out.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Questions I Am Tired of Being Asked: 5th ed. If you're from Cleveland and not Mormon, what are you doing in Utah county**?

Answer: I grew up Mormon. I went to BYU. It was cheap, and I had a full tuition scholarship my freshman year, which sounded a lot better than the other $40,000/year schools I got into that only gave me $6,000 or $10,000 scholarships. In retrospect, this was a mistake. I should have gone to Ohio State or some other cheaper state school, but I was a snob. I thought you couldn't get a respectable education at a place like that. Stupid.

Anyway, since my parents are quite liberal on the scale of Mormonity and raised me to think for myself, I was extremely unhappy at BYU. Everything about how the school was run, many of my fellow students, and most of my professors (with a couple very notable exceptions) dumped me into a spiral of depression and anguish.

When I finally found the self-respect and courage to leave, I had no idea what my next move would be. I was dating a rich guy, had just turned 21, and was having fun with my job, my friends, and my newly legal ID. Eventually I decided to simply transfer to the nearby Utah Valley University to finish my degree. I wouldn't have to move, I knew the area really well, and things were going well at work and with my friends, so why leave?

I now regret this decision as well. Although I actually LOVED Utah Valley University*** and don't regret transferring there from BYU for one split second, I was still unhappy for my last year or so in Utah. Things started to turn sour with people at work, several of my closest friends had moved away, and I was more aware than ever of the slim dating/socializing prospects and my distaste for the general populace of Utah County. It's hard to fit in when the cool kids all go to church every Sunday, love to talk about how awesome the church is, don't drink, don't want to go out, and don't date outside their faith.

As stated below, I've since gotten out of Utah, so now I can complain about it freely without having some dunderhead shout at me, "If you hate Utah so much, then don't live here!" Believe me pal, given a do-over, we would not be having this conversation right now. I could turn this into a long diatribe about Mormons and Utah culture (it's like a different country! And not one of the fun, touristy ones in Western Europe!) but, predictably, I no longer feel the need to vent now that I'm no longer surrounded by the great charade. And hasn't it all been said already elsewhere? Every ex-Mormon already knows the reasons the Mormon church and Utah are ridiculous, and most still-clinging-to-the-iron-rod Mormons don't want to hear it.

**I currently live in Colorado, but I still get asked this question retrospectively.

***Seriously. This is when I realized you're going to get a good education out of ANY school if that is your intention. UVU is a state school with an awful reputation, and yet my professors there were wonderful, passionate, and realistic (and criminally underpaid). I still got tons of personal attention despite it being a 30,000+ student school (I realize this has largely to do with my major. A business major would probably feel differently).

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Social ineptitude around celebrities, 2nd ed: Larry King

I served Larry King at my former Chinese restaurant job on Christmas Eve, 2009. Of course, since it was the pinnacle of the holiday season, I was over-worked, not wearing any makeup, and exhausted from a bad cold that had me crying a couple nights earlier while closing the bar.

I was bartending this day, too, but my manager asked me if I'd take table 11. Without even glancing at it, I sighed out a "sure." As I walked out of the bar and onto the line (the part of the kitchen that's closest to the dining room- servers hang out here), I overheard chatter and mutterings of the name "Larry King." I turned around, slightly curious. "Larry King's here?"

"Yeah, at table 11."

"His wife is Mormon, so they have a house here."

"She's a total trophy wife."

...and so on. I didn't feel the usual light-headedness and racing pulse that plague me when starstruck, but I was still acutely aware as I walked to his table that this is a really big celebrity. This is a household name, not your moderately popular indie band member that always leaves me tongue-tied. And I found myself completely unphased for once. It was a nice change.

He dresses much more youthfully outside of his show-expensive jeans and a baseball cap-so all those Joel McHale and Conan jokes about him being on earth at the same time as woolly mammoths didn't seem quite as potent in person.

Ok he's failing to look younger here in street clothes. Does the camera add ten years, too? No, wait, it's the Ed Hardy.

And then he ordered. He was a typical old person customer. He made old person requests and ordered an old person entree. When I told this to a co-worker back on the line, he immediately said, "What, like did he order almond and cashew chicken?" (yes)

My favorite part of serving Larry King happened when I refilled water at another table as a favor to a co-worker. The middle-aged dad sitting there asked me, "Are you serving Larry King?"

"Yeah," I answered with a smirk.

"How is it?"

I shrugged nonchalantly, still smirking, and replied, "Fine. He's really just another customer."

The man nodded, his eyes slightly glazed over. "Yeah...he's great!"

I guess I shouldn't hold it against him that he was so starstruck. Maybe he's a ginormous Larry King fan. Maybe he has Larry King memorabilia all over his den and every Larry King interview ever on VHS, organized chronologically in a closet. Maybe he reveres Larry King like I do Ben Folds. Probably not, though. I'm just glad I found the one famous person around whom I could still act like a person with an IQ higher than 60. But I hadn't escaped the social awkwardness quite yet.

The time came to offer dessert and boxes for their leftovers. They declined both, so I left a plate of fortune cookies and the bill, standing up on the edge of the table in a black, plastic check presenter. I went back in the kitchen and turned around less than a minute later to see if they'd paid yet. The check presenter stood, undisturbed, in the same place as I'd left it. I went about my duties in the bar and on the line, peeking nearly constantly to see if they'd done anything with the check presenter.

Ten minutes went by, then fifteen. Not that uncommon, a lot of people sit around chatting at the end of their meal, but I got nervous nonetheless. Since it was slow and I didn't have anything much better to do, I went out into the dining room and stood by the host desk, not too far from their table, to more closely monitor the check presenter situation. After a few more minutes of chatting with the hostesses and other servers that passed by, I decided to hazard a walk-by of their table, even though the check presenter still stood in the same spot I left it. I hate asking a table pre-maturely if the check is ready, because then they think I'm anxious for them to leave, which is usually not the case. As soon as I got within speaking distance of their table, Larry sat up, grabbed the check presenter, and handed it to me.


His card had been in there the whole time.

He must have slipped his card in right after I left the table, without moving the check presenter at all. Awesome. Now I've made Larry King wait 20 minutes to pay for no reason.

I felt extremely sheepish, but in my defense, most people, you know, move the check after they pay, or lay it down flat or SOMETHING so that the server knows they've put some form of legal tender in that black plastic case. They sat a while longer after I ran the card and gave it back to them, so at least they weren't in a hurry. And he tipped me a generous 30%, so he couldn't have been too irritated. I was the irritated one, for failing once again to have a normal social interaction with a celebrity, one that didn't even phase me. Just more proof of my all-around awkwardness.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It's easy, mmmkay

Major item crossed off my bucket list recently: visit South Park, Colorado.

I currently live less than a couple hours away from South Park, so I screeched at my boyfriend to pull over the car when we drove through on our way to Denver so I could take these pictures.

There's not much there, a few gas stations and diners. The South Park of the show has a lot more going on than real South Park. There's no True Value, no plane-arium, no water park, no lesbian bar (I'm assuming), and no Tom's Rhinoplasty.

However, the spirit of South Park in the show is pretty accurate. Very cold (now I know why those kids are always wearing hats and mittens), VERY windy, just your average quiet little redneck mountain town.

Although we did nothing there but buy some snacks at a gas station, I feel a special connection with Stan, Kyle, Kenny, and of course Cartman after seeing in person the setting for all their shenanigans.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Steven Tyler is the new Paula Abdul

I don't watch American Idol often, but I did last night in a fit of boredom and it was totally worth it for these three minutes. You may be thinking it's because of this young man's touching, heartbreaking story and lovely voice, but you'd be wrong. He's clearly a special person and I sympathize with what he has gone through, but the real gold starts at about 1:45, when the judges bring in Chris' handicapped girlfriend...I'll let you see for yourself.

American Idol was going for tearjerking, but the tears I cried were ones of laughter due to the judges' failure to be anything but awkward. See 1:47, when J.Lo introduces herself to the young woman, "Hi, I'm Jennifer (slight pause) Lopez." You know, the super famous one. Then, Steven Tyler turns it into a homerun by invading the personal space of a handicapped girl who he just met, stroking her hair, whispering in her ear, and KISSING her twice.

Um, what?? Inappropriate police!! Let's kiss and hug strangers who have no way of protesting or even backing away from us if they feel uncomfortable! Why? Because we're celebrities!! They are SO LUCKY to meet us!! I just love giving back.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Can I go back to cleveland now?

Although it doesn't snow as much here in Gunnison, CO, I'm missing Utah and Ohio winters right now. Gunnison is one of the coldest places in the continental US.

It is SO cold that...
1. even with the pellet furnace and my space heater running all day, the house still doesn't totally warm up on the colder days.
2. my car battery died...and couldn't be revived after over an hour hooked up to another car's battery because it was too cold.
3. the streets are NEVER free of snow/ice even if it hasn't snowed in a week because it's too cold to melt.
4. if you stand outside at night for more than a minute you can feel the snot freezing inside your nose.
5. I've started wearing socks indoors. I hate socks.

No one warned me about this.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

lots of links

I'm being a total hack in this post because I just stumbled across a crop of really funny websites/submission blogs. You know, like cakewrecks? Everytime I turn around, more of these pop up and they're all so hilarious I waste a half hour on every one without realizing it.
Surgeon General Warning: Do not click on any of these if you have a paper to write or laundry to do or a souffle in the oven, etc. I am not responsible for any time losses incurred as a result of these websites. - Just another reason not to get an iphone! - We've all gotten gifts like this. I love how many of them are cat-related. - I was laughing the most at this one. I can't figure out why distorted celebrity drawings amuse me so much. The Robert Pattinson one is amazing. - Making fun of food network hosts, which is all too easy when it comes to certain ones (*coughsandraleecough*). Whoever writes this site is devilishly witty!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

So disappointed in myself

I'm in the middle of the Twilight series right now. *ashamed face* I blame this man.

I know you can't tell from this picture, but his abs could bring about world peace. Or at least peace in my world, which is why, in an attempt to get on the good side of his mother, I agreed to give Twilight a try. I'd seen the movies and was underwhelmed, to say the least. Although Taylor Lautner's abs are a nice reward for suffering through the movies' underwhelmingness!

mmmmmm. that's nice.

Despite my vow to never read the series, which I'd heard were somewhat poorly written and just cheap, unrealistic fluff for silly schoolgirls, I found myself engrossed enough after the first book to continue plowing through. I'm currently on page 381 of book 4 after starting the first book less than three weeks ago. *another ashamed face* After having read half the series, it's easy to see why they are so successful and yet so censured.


-Bella is very likeable in the books. She's awkward and clumsy, but also humble, selfless, smart, and trustworthy.

-Stephenie Meyer has definitely fabricated a story that keeps the reader wanting more. The desire to see what happens next is the only thing that's kept my eyes racing from one page to the next.

-Edward's (and Jacob's) devotion to Bella is heart-melting. The idea of a man, or two men in this case, being so utterly, incomprehensibly commited to and in love with you, flaws and all, is intoxicating.


-Edward and Jacob's unrealistic obsession with Bella. While many women (and gay men?) are seduced by the intensity of the romance, I'm a little too cynical to give it any credit. I also don't believe in the idea of soul mates, so maybe this would be more plausible for those who do.

- The simplistic writing. Although Meyer is a good storyteller and paints some nice descriptions here and there, her style is not sophisticated. The sentences are short and simple, with a mostly basic vocabulary. The books are very easy to skim and I find myself occasionally skipping over whole paragraphs when I can tell they don't contain any vital or interesting information. This could also be considered a pro, I suppose, since it makes for a quick read. To put it briefly, you're not getting any smarter from reading these books.

-A lack of overarching plot, or purpose to the series. While each book seems to have its own struggle or malevolent force to overcome, there's (so far, almost done with the 4th book) no plot thread binding all the books together, like in Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, or the His Dark Materials trilogy. Hell, even Star Wars. It's just a peek into the lives of some fantastical creature humans, with no hint at when we'll know they've achieved their happily ever after.

-I've noticed a trend of telling instead of showing when it comes to character illustration. Instead of showing us a personality trait by watching how a character acts in a given situation, Meyer just tells us straight up that so-and-so is this way. Although it hasn't hindered the books' success, it's a rather elementary and forgettable writing style.

p.s. in case you were wondering, I'm team abs Jacob.